Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor under US President Carter, dies at 89

World Today

Zbigniew K. Brzezinski dies at 89In this Jan. 17, 1981 file photo, President Jimmy Carter shakes hands with his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, as he presents Brzezinski with the Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony in Washington. (AP Photo, File)

Former White House National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski has died at the age of 89. He had a long, career on the international political and diplomatic stage. Brzezinski served under U.S. President Jimmy Carter who remembers Brzezinski as “Brilliant… dedicated… and loyal.”

CGTN’s Sean Callebs filed this report.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor under Carter, dies at 89

Former White House National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski has died at the age of 89. He had a long, career on the international political and diplomatic stage. Brzezinski served under U.S. President Jimmy Carter who remembers Brzezinski as “Brilliant… dedicated… and loyal.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski’s place in history is secure. Intellectual, author, and perhaps best known for working to fully normalize relations with China in 1979.

Brzezinski says that the two greatest international leaders he dealt with were Pope John Paul II and former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.

“Deng Xiaoping realized that China was beginning to stagnate economically and had the good sense to realize that a breakthrough in the relationship with the U.S. would make it possible to unleash the productive forces of China’s society,” said Brzezinski.

U.S. President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger initially opened the door to U.S. – China cooperation. In many ways, Brzezinski worked to escape Kissinger’s shadow.

Brzezinski says back in the late ’70s he had high hopes for China and the U.S., but in a 2014 interview with CGTN he said, “serious competition with the then Soviet Union defined the framework.”


Zbigniew Brzezinski speaks about normalizing U.S.-China relations during the 1970’s

In a 2014 interview with CGTN, the late Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski CSIS Counselor and Trustee and Former National Security Advisor, discusses the role he played in the negotiations during former president Jimmy Carter presidential term.

“What was important in that instance was the normalization of relations with China and the intensifying and increasing cordial dialogue with Chinese leaders made possible rather significant cooperation,” he said.

In the decades that followed, China enjoyed exponential economic growth.

Brzezinski had a reputation for staying intellectually razor sharp and closely following the relationship he worked hard to foster. He had praise for Chinese President Xi Jinping and his efforts to curtail corruption in China while at the same time growing the nation’s middle class, working to implement what the former White House National Security Advisor called reforms on a “monumental” scale.

“It is very hard to reform a country in which there are one billion, three hundred million people. And, the risk of course is it will spin out of control and not be reformed but produce massive destructive upheaval,” Brzezinski said.

Brzezinski also told CGTN he supported U.S. President Barack Obama’s controversial “Asian Pivot”. But, the name alone fueled what he called “grievances” and “suspicions” between the U.S. and China.

“Which gave the impression that our real realignment in the Far Ear is first of all military. And implicit in that was the notion that we will be containing the Chinese,” he said.

Zbigniew K. Brzezinski dies at 89

In this Feb. 14, 1979 file photo, President Jimmy Carter, flanked by Secretary of State Cyrus, right, and his advisor on foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski, left, walk toward a waiting helicopter to fly to the nearby Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, File)

For decades, the man who worked to establish normal relations between China and the US followed the ups and downs of the complex ties.

In the years before his death, Brzezinski said he remained convinced that despite occasional ‘mutual unpleasantness’ the two nations have more in common than divides them.